Walking onto the Universal Amphitheatre stage last week in his trademarked "pink pedal pushers," Elvis Costello torched the crowd with dozens of songs Including covers of the other Elvis' "Marie's The Name (Of His Latest Flame)," The O'Jay's "Backstabbers," The English Beat's "Stand Down Margaret" — changed to "Stand Down Ronnie" — and original material spanning nearly his entire career. Charming, without being precious, Costello thanked the audience several times throughout the course of his performance, and intermittently dropped little asides such as the fact that he wrote "Heathen Town" about Los Angeles the last time he blew through the city.
After the first night's show, El hung out backstage with well-wishers and on Sept. 20 walked into KROQ-FM's studio in Pasadena where he stinted as a guest D.J. for a while before going back to the Amphitheatre for his last gig there. There's been a lot of hubub in the local press about how the "new Elvis" has abandoned his acidulous nature and has suddenly become outgoing and amiable. Well, at least he's not doing those "I Want My MTV" commercials.